RoughRiders begin playoffs with thrilling win

Josue Perez

With the minor league season wrapped up, the Rangers’ Double-A affiliate, the Frisco RoughRiders, are facing the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Astros’ Double-A affiliate in the South Division Championship Series. On Thursday, Frisco took a 2-0 lead over the Hooks in the series with a 3-2 win. Frisco won Game 1 of the SDCS over the Hooks (81-59), 6-5, Wednesday night thanks to Chris McGuiness’ walk-off double.

Holding the best first-half record in the Texas League South (41-29), the RoughRiders clinched a playoff berth in mid-June. The RoughRiders really heated up in the second half of the season, winning five games in a row three separate times since July. Their longest streak, an eight-game winning streak, lasted from Aug. 15-22.

A bittersweet twist of fate occurred when two of Frisco’s best players, Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar, were called up by the Rangers. Olt and Profar were among the Rangers’ top prospects and Frisco’s best players, holding .288 and .281 averages, respectively, before they left the RoughRiders to join the Rangers. With such key players out of the lineup, Frisco could have a rough time with the Hooks.

The 2012 Rough Riders have struggled against the Hooks this year as they only won 15 out of the 33 contests against Corpus Christi, who took 11 of 13 games from Frisco at one point this season.

But there is good news for Frisco fans. The RoughRiders won 3 times in a four-game series against the Hooks last week. In this SDCS, they will have to rely on former Texas A&M standout Barret Loux, who went 14-1 with a 3.47 ERA during the regular season. Fellow starting pitcher Cody Buckel, who earned Texas League Pitcher of the Week honors Wednesday, going 1-0 with 16 strikeouts last week.

Center fielder Engel Beltre, first baseman Chris McGuiness, and outfielder Ryan Strausborger are some of the best bats left in the RoughRiders’ lineup.